Pattye Benson

Community Matters

TE Teacher & TENIG contract discussions begin …

I was unable to attend the monthly TE school board meeting last night. But fortunately Ray Clarke was at the meeting and supplied the following notes:

Buraks read a statement to the effect that the Board has entered into discussions with both TENIG and the TEEA to explore the opportunity for “Early Bird” contracts. All parties have agreed to a “gag order” in order to “give the best odds of reaching agreement” (or words to that effect). The public will be kept informed as the process evolves. In response to my question (and after consulting with the solicitor (!)) Buraks stated that the Board representatives for TENIG are Brake, Bruce, Fadem, for TEEA are Cruickshank, Graham, Motel. There was no information provided as to new TEEA leadership.

The other item of note was the Priority Discussion on the Act 93 salary adjustments. Waters gave a lot of detail in an oral report that reiterated the general agreement from January, but of course, the only thing we had to follow was the table in the Agenda materials that kindly calculated 1% of each individual’s salary for the arithmetically challenged! Of course, we could go look up somewhere the 2012/13 salaries, but why not just put them in the table to help the Board and community get some perspective?

The Board reiterated its opposition to the Keystone exams. As a survivor of the UK’s “11 Plus” which determined our future at 10 years old, I’m not well qualified to comment on that!

The District’s collective bargaining agreements with TENIG (custodians, support staff and kitchen workers) and TEEA (the teachers union) expire on June 30, 2014. In addition, the District’s arrangement with the aides and paras for the 2013/14 school year also expires in June. Unless I’m missing something, it appears that the entire workforce of the TE School District is ‘under discussion’ with the exception of the administration. I am glad to see that school board members (Cruickshank, Graham, Motel) are sitting at the negotiation table this time around with the teachers union. (If you recall, this was not the case the last time).

I hope that the Board President Buraks is sincere about the School Board keeping the public informed during the the process as Ray notes suggested. It was the lack of transparency during the last teachers contract negotiations that troubled many of us — I re-read an old CM post on this topic from April 2012, ‘Seeking Transparency in TESD Teacher Contract Negotiations’ which had a follow-up post on May 17, 2012, ‘TE Teachers Turn on Transparency Lights in Contract Negotiations’ . In re-reading these posts and the many comments, what was striking was the need for regular updates to the public by the Board. The lack of information and/or misinformation during the contract negotiations aggravated an already difficult situation. In the CM post of May 17, 2012, I wrote,

” … making the teacher contract negotiation process transparent for the public would help the community understand how our children will be taught and how our tax dollars will be invested. The relationship between teachers and school administrators is an important element in what shapes this school district. There is no better way to understand this relationship than to observe the contract negotiation process. …”

I remain hopeful that the contract negotiations between the District and TEEA (and TENIG) will be open, honest and as transparent as possible. To clarify — representing the teachers union, is TEEA president Dr. Bob DeSipio, Conestoga HS science teacher. TENIG president is Mary Minicozzi.

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  1. Pattye,

    Could you please clarify – Ray says that Buraks stated that the Board Reps for TEEA are Cruickshank, Graham and Motel and you say Cruickshank, Fadem and Motel will be sitting down with the teachers union.

  2. Thanks Ray/Pattye. Went to attend the meeting but couldn’t get there until after 8…went to the district offices as I didn’t realize the meeting was at the High School….geeze, losing it. Sounds like it was a quickie meeting.

    Interesting that you were able to get the two teams identified (after checking with the solicitor; of course). That is NOT the same TENIG team announced last Spring…wonder what happened there? Last update given to the public laid out a time-lone for RFP’s to be circulated to vendors. This should have already happened….I guess no update…?

    While I’m also glad that the Board is actively involved in the TEEA contract, I’m a little concerned (as a taxpayer) at their choice of parties to be at the table. Certainly Motel and possibly Cruickshank were part of the team that negotiated the TEEA contract in 2008 (6/19/2008). Under that contract, as we all know, professional salaries increased 31.8% over that 4-year contract period. Additionally under that contract; all health care cost increase were borne by the District (although the employees did contribute a flat dollar amount). Combined with the PSERS inflation (based on salary levels) during that 4-year period; that ONE contract mandated some $17 MM to $20 MM of District cost increases. This disastrous contract produced the inevitable elimination of certain non-mandated educational programming and teacher lay-offs and produced the EIT study-group as the District looked for new revenue streams. Kris Graham seems like a very nice person but she’s stated her desire to “make the Teachers whole” in this next contract period. I’m not sure what that means but it’s a little scary to me as part of the primary District revenue source. I think she has contract negotiating experience as a Union Rep which could be good or bad. Weren’t all of these individuals also endorsed in their elections by the TEEA? Who’s speaking for me, the taxpayer? (yeah-that’s rhetorical)

    From my perspective, the TEEA has been keenly aware of the current economic climate as evidenced by this current contract. It seemed like a reasonable settlement to me although very acrimonious in its making. I’m not sure what their crystal ball says of the future economy but one would assume they are not looking to “freeze” wages for much longer. They’re good people who make our education franchise run and I’m sure their keenly aware of fiscal realities of public education from their home Districts. Still, they have a job to do in negotiating too.

    It is a difficult situation with such a high proportion of the workforce having contracts that last only 9 more months. The status quo of these contracts adds additional difficulty to the negotiations. PSERS contributions for the District will rise from about 16% (of total salaries) to about 29% in the next 4 years. Health Care costs could similarly inflate although this is much tougher to project. Currently health care benefits are borne by the employer at a level of 89%-100% of costs depending on the individual employee. Leaving that situation in status quo means the District (and the taxpayer) will pay almost all (95% ? ) health care increases over the next contract periods. For these two employee groups, “salary/wages” only makes up about 72%-75% of total compensation. I hope the Board teams understand that. On the employee side, I hope that each individual is given some choice as to how they are compensated (more wages vs. higher deductible health care; etc.).

    Certainly there can be an equitable solution to each of these situations producing a win-win-win for employer-employee-taxpayer. We’ll see if an “Early Bird-gag order” approach is the best. I have one suggestion: if a contract/contracts are reached; let the public review it for 30 days before signing. Sounds like there will be time. The Board has changed its mind on many things lately after public input…why not these, most important, items/contracts????

    The economic near-term future of the District and of its taxing policy will depend heavily on these deliberations. I wish you luck. We’ll be watching…like a hawk.

    1. Missed your company joining me peering around the pillars in the CHS cafeteria – I’m not a fan of that location for the Board meetings (recognizing that it is convenient for many).

      Your calculation of the cost impact of the 2008 contract is sobering indeed. Reinforces how dominant labor costs are, and the importance of creative solutions. I’m hopeful that Dr DeSipio’s quantitative background as a CHS physics teacher will foster rational analysis from the TEEA side.

      I’d like to see a TEEA solution that restores some element of salary progression, especially at the lower end – ideally performance-based, but that may be too much to hope for.

      I also think that its worth considering the recent UPS benefits solution that offered spousal healthcare coverage only to those who do not get it from their employer.

      Kris Graham is unabashedly pro-teacher, but that may help the process and any contract does need a Board majority.

      Maybe it’s a good idea to keep the initial feeling-out process out of the limelight, but I whole-heartedly agree that the Board should allow for citizen comment prior to any approval.

      1. Citizens need to be included in the process every step of the way. Remember last January when Buraks told citizens they could comment after the vote was taken? There was no point to that just like there would be no point to citizen comment prior to approval when everything has already been hashed out. In order to influence the process and the outcome, citizens have to be a part of the process. It’s easy to dismiss someone’s point of view when they haven’t been part of the process or done any of the work.

        Administrators are experts at this. This is why Art McDonnell told Board members he would take care of citizen e-mails. He takes on that task and gets even more power in the process all the while looking like a great guy to Board Members because he offered to do more work when in reality citizens have less access and therefore less influence on Board Members than ever. This just increases their dependence on administrators thereby giving administrators even more power.

        Could you write about how Kris Graham being unabashedly pro-teacher may help the process. I’m not saying it won’t help, I am simply at a loss there. It seems to me anyone being unabashedly pro or con anything, would make it hard to come to common ground with.

        And last but not least, what do you mean by “I’d like to see a solution that restores some element of salary progression.”

        1. IMO, including citizens in the process “every step of the way” would get in the way of progress. As an agreement crystallizes, though, the community should be given sufficient notice to allow for input and generate buy-in.

          My thought was that the realities of a Keith Knauss spreadsheet may be easier to accept when explained by Mrs. Graham doing her fiduciary duty.

          A feature of the traditional teacher salary matrix is that it provides for salary increases with years of service. I think that our teachers at the bottom of the scale should have the opportunity for salary increases such as the matrix provided. We know that experience does not correlate with quality, hence my plea for performance incentives to be part of the mix.

          One way to provide the funds for any improvements in cash compensation is to continue the rationalization of healthcare benefits.

  3. I was hoping The team would turn out to be Cruickshank, Fadem and Motel. Like Neal I am concerned about this choice of parties at the table. (but pleased they are at the table) Kris Graham was a teacher in the Radnor school district and Karen Cruickshank was a college administrator before moving to TE. Where do you suppose their interests lie? Pete Motel is going on 16 years as a School Board Member and as far as I can tell is so completely co opted by the administration, I’m not sure he knows what it is to think independently.

    I’m sure Cruickshank and Graham are good people who are doing what they think is right for the district but I still don’t understand how they and Kevin Buraks got elected to this board. Their views do not represent the majority of citizens in this district and I am mystified by how they got these positions. I know it doesn’t matter how they got where they are. but there decisions here will have a huge impact on this community and from what I can tell, their views do not match the views of the vast majority of parents, citizens and tax payers in this community.

    1. Fadem leaves the board Dec 1. The negotiations overlap with elections. Perhaps the voters will put some thought into who to support in light of this.

      1. I have factored this point in. Do you think Fadem and the others leaving Dec 1st will effect the pace of negotiations? I do.

        I know this might not be popular but I think it would be a good idea to hire a consultant to go in and negotiate with the board. Cruikshank and Motel have kids in the classroom. This may influence the negotiations.

        I don’t like being so cynical but this whole thing may already be done anyway.

        As always, the elephant in the room is healthcare. Weren’t Cruikshank and Motel part of the team that allowed administrators to get the same cadillac healthcare benefits as the teachers? I just don’t see administrators pushing for teachers to give that up because it would directly effect them. What a mess.

        1. And weren’t you one of the ones who complained that the board used an outside negotiator?

          There is no right way to do this….and it seems the view from the outside is always going to be largely jaded. Transparency — like with the Aides and Paras — where the response of the community ran STS off….

          It’s just not easy. And remember — TEEA and TENIG have PROFESSIONAL negotiators at the table. And the TEEA has workshops all summer preparing for negotiations throughout the Commonwealth…cherry picking options from every district. From all those many who applied and presumably were considered for Radnor, they chose the guy from LM, the highest paying district in the area.

          SL – you started with this comment: ” I was hoping the team would turn out to be Cruickshank, Fadem and Motel” and the rest of your comments are concerns about each of those and their weak credentials.

          This time, let’s try and remember that it’s not about the “poor teachers” who are well represented and are tenured and have status quo as a fall back position, which is a wage freeze with the same benefits at the same price for them. Apparently we only care about cost when it’s time to raise taxes. And when the district saves money, we are angry they did so.

          What’s the winning hand here? Feels a bit like Tic Tac Toe in War Games….let it play out.

        2. If you look back, I have always advocated for an outside negotiator.

          And I agree with pretty much everything else you say here.

  4. The Board and unions have agreed to a “gag order”. By definition, this means negotiations (offers; counter offers; areas of disagreement) will be kept secret. When the Board member says, “The public will be kept informed”, it probably means the public will get press releases noting that the sides have met and negotiations were productive.
    For Neal – I suggest you do a spreadsheet with salary, FICA, PSERS, healthcare for the average TENIG and TEEA employee. I think you will find that the percentage of compensation attributed to benefits is q

  5. quite different between these two groups. Therefore, healthcare cost containment becomes more important for one group vs the other.

    1. Great idea Keith…it’s on the “to do” list. Not entirely sure I can pull ALL the relevant data but it would be a good, and hopefully eye-opening” exercise.

      My thoughts as it relates to any employee negotiations is to consider “total” compensation which I equate to total costs to the employer (District/taxpayer). To be fair, rapidly accelerating PSERS contributions ARE indeed costs to the District and benefit to the employees (as it is revenue to their under-funded retirement plan). However, it has to be acknowledged that they (the employee) did/do not set the PSERS contribution rate. Two sides to this dilemma and I’d be interested in your take….

      When Pattye and I worked with the Para’s in trying to fashion a compromise health offering/wage structure for them, we neutralized the PSERS increase burden to the District by suggesting the annual increase in contribution affecting the employer (so less the State contribution piece) be wrapped into any salary increase. OK, that’s a real long sentence but I hope you get the point.

      1. You might be interested in the article Teacher Contract Evaluation on my website. It’s fairly detailed, but from your earlier posts I imagine you like detail.
        You can see UCF’s teacher compensation and the spreadsheet we use to evaluate offers. The spreadsheet can also be used for support staff compensation evaluation. For some of the support staff you might find that benefits equal salary.
        My take on PSERS is that it is just one of many forms of employee compensation (tuition, salary, healthcare, FICA) that must be included when evaluating a contract offer. As you note, it’s a benefit to the employee and a cost to the taxpayers.

        1. BRAVO…..That’s what we’re talking about. Obviously, you are further along on the process than here but…wow…stating where you stand and why/pricing alternatives/taxpayer cost focus combined with real attempt to create a win/win with the bargaining unit…wow!! All spelled out for whomever to see…WOW!

          Thanks, I will use your formatting to do my analysis. Still need data….Ray: HELP…

        2. I’m a great fan of Keith’s analysis, but first we need something to analyze!

          Hopefully both sides of the negotiations – especially the Board, of course – have exactly the kind of spreadsheets that Keith advocates. As a negotiator, in fact I’d want even more detail, particularly related to attrition. What is the exact longevity distribution of the current staff? What do past data tell us about retirements/resignations? How would contract options being considered impact future retirements/resignations? What is the very best model we can come up with to project the distribution of staff by year for the next 10 years? This factor has a profound impact on salary costs and IMO has driven much of recent years’ favorable budget outcomes.

          PSERS does loom large. However, under current plan assumptions I believe that the cost increases are manageable, and that the cost should not be set against compensation growth for our next generation of teachers.

          Healthcare benefits continue to be the great opportunity.

  6. The board, since it represents the students and tax payers in all matters involving money, should afford residents the opportunity to hear their version. They should publicly say what they’re doing in all matters that involve tax payer money.

    Gag orders make secret negotiations possible and do nothing but get rumor mills started making residents feel left out and marginalized.

  7. Healthcare Costs
    One area of compensation costs that is not well understood is healthcare. According to a recent Kaiser report:

    Annual premiums for employer-sponsored family health coverage in the U.S. reached $16,351 in 2013, up 4 percent from 2012, with workers paying an average of $4,565 toward the cost of their coverage,…
    The average deductible for worker-only coverage is $1,135…

    Vanguard puts their employee healthcare costs on the web. Family coverage (parents +2) costs $2,600 with a $1,900 deductible.
    TENIG members pay $300 per year with a $0 deductible.
    TEEA members pay 10% of the premium (around $1,700) with a $0 deductible.

  8. As far as I can tell, board members whose views match the views of the majority of residents in this community are going to have to have the courage to stand up to the union and administrators and represent the best interests of the tax payers.

    Isn’t it ironic that all of this may just boil down to Pete Motel.

  9. Standing up to the union where the Union fall-back position is STATUS QUO by law is kind of a false premise.

    THe ONLY way to control health care costs is NOT to negotiate plans. Just contributions. And the only contribution to negotiate is that of the employer. The employee can and should have a choice of plans at a choice of costs and coverages. But TEEA has never been willing to put that on the table. As long as you negotiate plans and co-pays, you cannot control costs. The taxpayer bears the increases.

    But forget this “courage to stand up to the union.” That’s just a ‘silly’ statement, and that’s not to denigrate the interest you have, but to in fact remind you that companies pay what they choose. They can change the coverages or the employee contributions. Our contracts have never gotten that close. The administrators had it a few years ago (the district only made a defined contribution) but the board either didn’t understand it or yielded to the Admins when the cost of the TEEA plan went beyond the defined administrative contribution.

    1. You have made this point about healthcare many times and I agree.

      The Board has got to stand up to the TEEA and the Administrators. It is not a silly statement.

  10. I am encouraged that this time around the School Board will not outsource their leadership to the Administration in negotiating with both union groups. I was disappointed in the last negotiating process with teachers that the Board allowed the Administration to represent elected school board members and the community.

    I am interested to see whether both TEEA and TENIG will take into consideration the plight of the para-professionals and aides. During the spring and summer the unions expressed their support for para – professionals and aides and they opposed outsourcing. I believe both union contracts will no doubt affect the future of the aides and para-professionals. Will both of these unions downsize their health care plans to help make it possible for the District to provide health care to aides and para-professionals in future years? Will the unions prove their solidarity with the para-professionals and aides, or will they do what is best for their own individual unions? We will see if the solidarity is real or just talk.

    I am uncomfortable with the fact that some school administrators make well over a hundred thousand dollars. District records show their salaries range from $113,000.00 to $181,000. I know we live an affluent community, but how many people individually make more than 100,000 a year? I find it alarming that as a district, we have absorbed cuts of over $10 million in the last three years and watched as classroom support staff were almost outsourced to avoid benefit costs. Why do we shy away from aggressively cutting jobs at the administrative level? I would like to see the district consider combining jobs at the top level of the Administration.

    I will be watching for the Board to be more open and transparent in the process of contract negotiations. Please don’t use the gag order as a way to keep the public in the dark. I will be pushing for the community to have enough time to review and offer public comment on whatever contracts are proposed. I hope the board is wise enough to not put these kinds of issues on the consent agenda.

    I hope this process will be a true collaboration between the public, Board and the district employees. Together we will succeed.

  11. Scott
    If you are concerned that administrators make over $100,000, you are running for the wrong job. There is no ability to reduce administrative salaries, and in fact they have reduced the number of administrators over the past decade at every building. This is a $100,000,000+ district. Teachers with 15 years of experience and advanced degrees will cross that threshold in larger numbers…and they are contracted for about 190 days a year of 7 hours and 35 minutes a day. To get those people to come into administration (with no contract day and a 12 month work schedule…) requires a “bump”…because admins are required by law.

    We have to stop this class warfare. These are market-driven jobs, teaching and administration. The state requires certain credentials and certifications to be eligible for these jobs, and the state provides tenure for people doing these jobs. Please go over the history of this district — not just the last few years since you have gotten interested in politics. The public can review whatever you think they should, but what exactly do you think the public can do? It was Obamacare that caved to allow the Paras to retain their job status. The company identified to protect hours and costs was basically scared off by the public “backlash.” The public can support either side — but the power is 100% on the side of the union. PA has the largest number of teacher strikes IN THE COUNTRY. Read the contracts of the groups that are negotiating and see where you can find room to bargain. 7:35 minute day. 30 minute duty-free lunch period within that day. 225 minutes of prep time each work week. The outcry over furloughs is a hint — furloughs mean you aren’t getting paid because you aren’t working. It means you are an hourly worker and had your hours cut. Does industry do that? Do you get a week off without pay if instead of a pay cut?

    We do not shy away from doing anything, but on some level, you need to come to grips with the reality that this is UNION negotiations. The unions have no solidarity with the aides and paras unless they successfully get them to join the union…in which case, watch those jobs disappear, because the model is based on a very different premise.

    How many people individually make over $100,000 a year? Wow. How long have you lived here? Look at what administrators make across the state….that’s the population you need to reflect in your analysis. I don’t think Dr. Dinkins left TESD (and a pension program) for Episcopal because they simply recruited him….good people with credentials — which are a very limited number of people — cost money. “There’s more where he came from” is true…but most of them are teachers from the very top of the matrix. Check out their salaries, and then add 15% minimum to make up for the work year change.

    Seriously — ask the questions where you can learn the answers. Don’t ask these rhetorical, inflammatory questions of a blog readership who themselves are learning from each other. If you want to be a board member, you need answers to questions — ideas to lead — not simply criticism of the status quo. Which, by the way, has TESD somewhere near the top of the state routinely in education achievement, and somewhere near the bottom of the state in the percentage of local assets directed to education.

    1. Side,

      You say they have reduced the number of administrators in every building. This is simply not true. I have been here for at least that amount of time, I have children at every level and I have seen the number of teachers, guidance counselors, reading specialists, etc. reduced. I have not seen the number of administrators reduced in one single school building. Could you please clarify.

      As has already been revealed, there are many teachers in the district with certifications to become administrators. The job is not rocket science like they want you to believe it is. Any teacher will tell you that.

      We need school board members like Scott who are not endoctrinated into the staus quo way of thinking. Things can change. Take a look at New Jersey and what Governor Christy has done there. He capped the pay supt. can make at his salary $175,000. Sure, some left but I haven’t heard of any schools folding in NJ because of supt. making well over $200,000 leaving. Forget about Dr. Waters, administrators under him make more than Chris Christy at $181,000. It’s really absurd. It has to stop.

      I think Scott has great ideas.

      1. they are idealistic. talking about discomfort with administrators making x amount of money, having them give back health insurance benefits etc is not going to make that happen. Clearly mistakes have been made. The economy is weak. I admittedly do not know the nuances of the markets vis a vis administrators and like you apparently Im unhappy with the way things have gone down the last year or two. Wouldnt it be nice if we got some leadership from the state? Want to restrict salaries of administrations? How about a law commensurate with that Act that limits taxing ability unless exceptions are sought? Does the principal of Conestoga ever smile? Scotts ideas are rhetorical. Yep, we all may WISH for his ideas to become reality. I would love for him to sit in on negotiations. WOuld he be a “friend” to the taxpayers and students and staff and administration all at the same time in a kubaya moment? As someone mentioned above, this is a pretty darned good school district with great value for the tax dollar. Maybe the bubble will burst and we will take hits because of the cutting of programs and the increased pay/benefit packages of the teachers and admin. Radnor has a great reputation academically; their kids do incredibly well at a higher cost. Will programs we cut have an impact on legitimate college prep? Another factor with Radnor and TE is parental influence. oUr parents for the most part value education, support teachers and insist on their kids doing as well as they can. Many if not most are college educated. THose that are not move here because of the influence of others who value education, hoping for their kids an opp to study and learn and grow in the environment cultivated over years by our community,

        I heard alot of rhetoric from scott. But nuts and bolts, what will he really do/

        Does the principal ever smile?

  12. Shining, I must have missed scotts ideas. he is a gentle man with good intentions, but as side has said, other than rhetoric, what are his ideas for UNION bargaining? This isn’t as simple as making a speech and wishing away the bad and making things all right. I applaud him for even coming on this blog where other politicos don’t. But there is a smattering of class warfare. lets face it, the state has handcuffed the boards ability to tax, (maybe a good thing) but to my knowledge has done nothing to reign in expenses.. So its a catch 22 and unless there is give and take in negotiations, there will be trouble.. Im betting on that.

    1. Class warfare refers to pitting the working class against corporations and the rich.

      Are you implying that administrators are the rich and teachers aides and paras are the working class and this struggle between segments in our school district is similar to Americas growing class war?

      Paying bonuses to administrators when the school district faces enormous budget deficits does seem similar to the sort of greed recently seen by the corporate execs. who paid themselves bonuses with government bail out money.

      Your analogy is a good and accurate one.

      With the little information and numbers afforded citizens, what do you propose that candidates like Scott do and say? You say our hands are tied. Should we all sit back and watch while student programs continue to be cut, teachers continue to be furloughed, TENIG and support staff continue to be under constant threat of outsourcing yet administrator pay and bonuses continue to rise?

      No Thank-you.

      1. hands are tied…. need to get our local reps to Harrisburg on the job.. there is too much stuff coming out of harrisburg that is detrimental to OUR school. Radnor is taking the Keystone tests to task officially. We have done well here without restrictions put on us by harrisburg. Seems they are intent on treating all districts the same, and in the process dumbing down the value of our educational services and killing local control. So first answer is dealing with Harrisburg.

        Since I am not running for School Board, I would like to hear salient points made by scott. IF he can actually get the admin to offer give backs, and negotiate well against the entrenched unions and their pro negotiators, MORE POWER TO HIM!

  13. Some demographics at the 2010 census for Tredyffrin Township, The median income for a household was $82,258 and the median income for a family was $105,183.

    Males had a median income of $76,393 vs. $46,124 for females.

    Few people in TT, make over $100,000 contrary to what people believe.

    I would wager that in 2013, these numbers are even lower.

    The average wage for a chemical engineer with experience is between $91,000 and $94,000 per year.

    So, these citizens, who fund these inflated school district salaries, working seven times harder than they did in 2008 for the same or less pay and no pension, will have to work years past any school district employee. Think about that.

    1. Shining light, what’s the avg TEEA member salary, $70k or so. I’m sure I’m not exact, but it seems more than reasonable for the avg chemical engineer salary to be about $25k higher than the avg teacher. Teacher and engineers are both professionals and should be viewed in the same job class.

      1. Average reflects tenure. A more experienced or more educated workforce.

        You need average and median to assess the nature of the demographics of the teachers. And that chemical engineer is right out of college in many cases….and works a 52 week calendar and doesn’t go home until his work is done. So it’s apples and oranges. They are both professionals, but teachers CHOSE to teach. Engineers chose not to.

  14. Stopped up at the high school to pay a bill yesterday. Attitudes are sour, snippy and not friendly.

    When can we ask the over paid administration (plus bonus)
    to step up and bring a solid morale back to the district.

    Someone needs to pump some liquid sunshine inside the schools, hurry before Tuesday.
    Contract talk or not it’s time for new faces and new directions.

  15. Teparent

    Simply the tone of your less than conciliatory or cheery email sort of tells the tale…Liquid sunshine,,,bring a bit on your own, And please give some thought to the fact that our ?administration” seemed okay to most until they were placed at the bargaining table…where they were stripped of power AND identity….and blamed by both sides for everything short of,chemical weapons in Syria….

    new faces indeed. How about a smile or too, and a little less condescension?

  16. Did someone just put out there something about New Jersey doing something right?

    I know several teachers in New Jersey. After the last several years of change the schools are failing to educate. They have laid off thousands of teachers across the state. A friend of mine has 41 students in a middle school class. 5 years ago he said the max was 27 students. He says that there is no way to properly educated anyone anymore.

    You can not simply evaluate how well a school system is by how much money you save, how much money you spend an how talented you teachers and staff are. There is an equation for everything and balance is key.

    For the record, my friend in NJ has a home valued at about 2/3 of what the value of my home is and his school taxes are about 60% higher then mine in TESD. His teaching salary has actually been reduced over the last few years and his health care contribution is raising. If his wife wasn’t working full time, they would need to sell their home and move into an apartment.


    Reflects which schools are most successfully preparing students for college:

    NJ = #11
    PA = #25

    Average class size for state of NJ =12.73 PA =13.8

    Median salary for teachers in NJ for 2012- 2013 was $62,583, Supt. $176,505. Principals $117,750, Administrative and Supervisors $148,719

    According to success and sustainability average teacher salary in TE was around $82,000. I think it’s closer to $85,000 now. No information was provided on administrators but that has been covered many times on this blog.

    As I have said many times, I have great respect for teachers and I know they work very very hard.

    This information is from a quick search. I welcome any data that contradicts these numbers.

  18. There willbe no give backs, and this silly use of data is meaningless. education is flawed because salary is tied to longevity and credits, not quality and productivity. Telling me what anyone makes without data that the unions ignore is just class warfare. newer hires make more today than 10′ years ago…despite a down economy, SL–do your research and see what the true cost of the new Radnor Sup is….the TRUE cost…number of sick days he brought, benefit plan, cost of life and disability plans, PSERS share, sabbatical privileges, car allowance, work year, buy back on sick days….personal days, and years of experience, academic credentials, and professional background. Then see if you can find out what Episcopal paid Delvin Dinkins…oh wait….that won’t be published anywhere….

  19. You’re right. I did not include data backing up teacher salaries for N.J. My mistake.

    I sited 2012 to 2013 above.

    If interested go to:

    This is for 2011-2012

    The analysis found:
    The median pay among New Jersey public school class room teachers was $57,467. The average was $63,154, with more than half of the teachers earning from $40,000 – $60,000.

    New Jersey teachers are the 4th highest paid in the country and make nearly $10,000 more than the national average.

    But not quite 2% make more than the $100,000 and the average salary in NJ is in line with other NE states with similar costs of living.

    I agree with what you say about Supt. pay. Hidden and not hidden. The public should be made aware of all the costs. You are correct.

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